All “Ask Skip“ Questions that appear in this blog are actual questions submitted to me directly from blog subscribers or other inquiries that come in through the main website or via my Social Media pages on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to submit your own “Leadership, Teamwork or Workplace Communication”question here!
This a very challenging situation, and quite frankly, it is virtually impossible to motivate people in the type of environment you are asking about. And, it doesn’t matter if jobs are being sent overseas or not, just that they are being cut.
Yet, companies expect people to still come to work and be motivated to perform.
The reason this is virtually impossible is the type of situation described is steeped in “uncertainty.” “Uncertainty” is one of the most debilitating human emotions and it creates fear, which can be paralyzing.
Additionally, this type of situation puts employees at the lowest rung on Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs Motivational Pyramid, where people are focused solely on survival and basic necessities, like food and shelter.
It’s very difficult to be motivated to think about anything else.
Now, on the other hand, this type of environment will motivate people.
It just depends on what you want them to be motivated to do. Most of what it motivates them to do, however, is not conducive to a highly productive work environment, such as:
- they will be motivated to look for another job before the axe falls on them,
- they may be motivated to undermine their teammates so they can lift themselves up and look good to keep their job at the expense of someone else.
- sometimes the fear can be a factor if it is focused on activities that can improve performance so that an individual is seen as a valuable contributor to the company. However, if everyone is viewed as a commodity and the job can be shipped to a lower paid person overseas, then no matter what an individual does will not help. In this situation, in addition to uncertainty, employees also have a sense they have no control over their situation and environment, creating a feeling of “learned helplessness.”
I hope this explains some things as you try to navigate the challenging work environment. Often times, company leaders do not understand this and they just keep trying to crack the whip, putting more and more pressure on the workforce creating a very negative and stressful work environment. Hang in there, and look for new opportunities with other organizations as soon as possible.
’til next time, make it a great day!
If you have an issue you are dealing with in leading your team and/or organization that you would like answered in my “Ask Skip” column, click here to submit your own “Leadership, Teamwork or Workplace Communication” question here and you might just see your question answered here in the coming weeks. I also promise to reply directly so that you get the help you need when you need it.